Tuesday, July 31, 2007

maybe 29 just isn't a lucky number...

Gabe rang in my 29th birthday by getting his first fever. His first cold whatsoever, really, and I guess I should thank my lucky stars that it didn't happen until 7 months, but when you are in the thick of it, it is hard to think about the positives.

I should have known that something was up because we spent all of Thursday and Friday night awake and screaming (Gabriel, that is, not me, although I wanted to). This should have clued me in, because Gabe is a lot of things (stubborn, strong-willed, cute as a button), but he isn't a screamer. Thursday and Friday night were, without a doubt, the worst nights we've had so far in the time since Gabe was born. Even when he was a newborn, he might fuss or yell with displeasure, but he never screamed uncontrollably, and I never had trouble settling him down. Thursday and Friday night gave me a dose of serious empathy for anyone whose baby is a screamer. It is really, really, really hard to maintain your sanity in the wee hours of the morning when you just can't make your baby happy. I found myself talking sweetly to Gabe in his room, while trying to settle him back into his crib. Then I'd come back to my room and hear the screams starting up again on the monitor, and I'd start cursing into my pillow.

I tried everything. We walked, we rocked, we attempted sleep in my bed, we attempted sleep in the guest room bed, we attempted sleep in a chair, we sang, we even tried Tylenol thinking that perhaps it was the teeth, but nothing worked. I was up and pacing for most of the night, trying anything to make him happy. During the day he seemed okay, but just a tad out of sorts. Nothing I could put my finger on, so I went back and forth wondering if maybe all of it was behavioral. Could my baby become spoiled just like that? Could his personality change overnight?

Isn't it funny how when you are going through a rough phase you are so quick to assume that this is it FOREVER and your life is destined to be this hard for eternity?

Anyway, we had big plans to have my 29th birthday celebration in this seaside town in Massachusetts called Rockport, and I had requested lobsters for lunch or dinner. So, of course, we woke up on the big day with a fever. Nothing terribly high, but definitely a fever, and a runny nose. Things rapidly went downhill from there. At it's worst point, Gabe had a fever of 104.7, and I was ready to toss him in the car and drive to the emergency room, and only the fear of having to undergo painful tests kept me from doing it. I just didn't know what was normal and what wasn't, and I didn't know how high a fever could go and what might happen.

We ended up giving him a lukewarm bath for 20 minutes, dosing him with Tylenol, and the fever started receding right after that, thankfully. By that time, I'd spoken with the pediatrician on call, and she said that as long as Gabe acted normal (which he did), then we didn't need to worry. Fever was just a symptom, not dangerous in and of itself.

It was a long day, and a longer night, and on Monday morning I dragged him into the pediatrician's office, confident that he must have an ear infection or teeth or SOMETHING, for the love of all things. During our 15 minute visit, though, Gabe was charming and sweet and smiley and hugged the doctor and cooed, and generally appeared completely and utterly well, to the point that the pediatrician asked me several times whether I was sure he'd had a fever that high, and where did I take his temperature (rectally, unfortunately), and was I sure the thermometer worked, and was I sure I'd done it correctly?

Suffice to say, that apparently this was a vicious 24 hour bug, and Gabe has shown no ill-effects since Sunday night. He has been a little cranky, but without a fever and generally in good spirits, except for his absolute refusal of any form of food that doesn't have to do with the breast. No solids, no bottles, no nothing. Just the boob. All the time.

This would be fine, except that over the last few months we've settled into a routine where I pump enough milk for one bottle a day and Josh feeds him that bottle at bedtime so that I can occasionally (read, very seldomly) go to a movie or to run errands, or go to the bathroom uninterrupted at bedtime. In order to get that bottle, though, I will pump over a couple of sessions the night before, maybe one at 7pm and one at 10pm, or something like that. That also means that my boobs don't make quite the quantity of milk that he wants to drink at bedtime in a single feeding. That also also means that we are kind of screwed.

He feeds and then I figure that he is still hungry because he refuses to go to bed, and I wait another hour to give my breasts a chance to make more milk and then he feeds again and is exhausted enough that he finally falls asleep, but he's been waking up again at 4am (something he hasn't done in at least 2 months) to eat because he isn't getting enough before bed to make it through the night. Needless to say, he is lucky that he is so cute and that I love him so much because he is skating on thin ice here, and I'm exhausted.

But it's just a phase, right? He isn't going to refuse to eat anything but the boob until he is 17 and leaving for college, right? I had to turn down my first invitation this month to go to the movies with my girlfriend because Gabe wouldn't take a bottle tonight! 2 hours of mindless, lovely, non-demanding movies, with popcorn and soda and maybe even candy. It is a tragedy, really.

I did get an excellent birthday present this year, a little early. On Wednesday morning, I realized that I was out of things to wear. My uniform these days consists of 4 pairs of capri pants that I purchased in 4 colors, basically the only pants that fit, plus white t-shirts that I rotate through, also the only tops that fit. But on Wednesday, I was out of luck because somehow I'd forgotten to wash any of the pieces of the uniform. On dumb luck, I figured that I'd try something pre-pregnancy to see if I could squeeze into it and..... drumroll please.... I did! My pre-pregnancy jeans! And not even my fat jeans! My regular ones! I ended up fastening them with a safety pin, though, because I figured that after lunch I might want to cry if I wore them buttoned, but WHO CARES! Pre-pregnancy jeans! On my post-pregnancy body!

Happy birthday to me, indeed.


jo(e) said...

Isn't it funny how when you are going through a rough phase you are so quick to assume that this is it FOREVER and your life is destined to be this hard for eternity?

Oh, that's it exactly!

It sounds like you survived his first sickness and handled it well.

Happy Birthday!

Beth & Rob said...

Happy Birthday Indeed. That has to be the best present of all - well done! Makes you actually feel like your old self again. What a great post - made me laugh - you nail all the feelings that crazy first time mothers have SO WELL. I figure that Daisy will eventually have teeth, and eat, and be able to roll and crawl and not have a dummy or wear nappies by the time she gets to school so I will try and RELAX. It's so hard though. Thanks for the story it was fabulous!

twoxthefun said...

Your right it is a phase. I think you put it well.

Yeah for you!!! on fitting back into those clothes. I am keeping my fingers crossed that very soon I'll have that same thing happen to me. I've had a little trouble after baby #2 fitting back into those before clothes.

Happy Birthday!!!

wmm said...

So, I am 29 weeks pregnant, an attorney, just found your blog and felt the need to read the entire archives during my first few hours of work today. Thanks for writing - it's been illuminating, entertaining, and instructive to say the least. I can't wait to meet my baby boy. Are you ever going back to work? Just curious...

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

Oy, so sorry about the high fever! Those are so awful!

Rev Dr Mom said...

Happy Birthday! And glad Gabe is feeling better.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Lovey Luv-Luv. Sorry that Gabe was sick. You're right, that's always hard. :(

Knitting Mama said...

I am a little behind on my blog reading - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!